How-To

How to Run a Program on Windows 7 in Compatibility Mode

Sometimes older software won’t work on modern versions of Windows. But you can run them in “Compatibility Mode” on Windows 7. Here’s how.

If you have older applications that you need to run, Windows 7 has a compatibility mode feature that can help you get it working. Applications dating all the way back to Windows 95 or Windows 98 now have a chance at working in Windows 7, but I imagine this will be most useful for old XP and Vista programs.

You can adjust compatibility settings from the program’s shortcut or from the executable file itself. I prefer using the shortcut method; it gets the same job done, and there is less of a chance of messing something up.

How To Run A Program In Windows 7 Using Compatibility Mode

1.  Right-click your program shortcut then click Properties from the context menu.

how to access the shortcut properties for a windows 7 shortcut

2.  Click the Compatibility tab, and now you choose the version of Windows you want to run it in compatible mode with. For a very old program, you would choose XP, for example.

how to view the compatibility information for a windows 7 program

That all there is to it!

There are still a few details to cover, but they aren’t something you’ll always come across.

MSI files are not capable of running in a manually selected compatibility mode. Instead, Windows 7 will automatically choose the best “Previous version of Windows” to execute the program.

how to view compatibility information for a windows 7 msi file

You can change compatibility for all users on a computer by pressing the Change settings for all users button. If you are going to do it, make sure you click the button first because the All Users setting is an entirely separate window of its own. Compatibility for all users will not import settings from the main compatibility window.

how to adjust compatibilty settings for all windows 7 users

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